Monday, 23 July 2012

What to read after Fifty Shades...?

A few weeks ago the fabulous Summer Daniels set up a Facebook page called What to read after Fifty (50) Shades of Grey, which does exactly what it says in the title.

I've written elsewhere on this blog about the challenges of finding erotica at the various booksellers - not necessarily finding erotica, as such, but finding your kind of erotica. Summer's Facebook page is an excellent example of one way readers can club together to help each other out: with more than 7,000 likes and a heavy flow of traffic, the page has clearly provided a valuable resource for many, and I'd recommend that any erotica fan should keep an eye on it.

The whole Fifty Shades phenomenon has been fascinating to follow. Who would have thought that we'd suddenly be seeing erotica titles displayed face-out on supermarket shelves, and topping all the charts?

Some of the reader comments have been intriguing. There would appear to be a lot of readers who are unaware of the wide range of erotica and erotic romance available: Fifty Shades is visible, and so that's the one they read. Many talk about it in terms of being naughty reading it, which is quite a surprise to me: the sex - in the first volume at least (I haven't read the others yet) - is a long time coming, and even in the later stages forms only a tiny proportion of the book. The BDSM gives it a naughty frisson, too, but it's still relatively tame.

Other comments I've seen have been along these lines: they've heard all the buzz, but is that it? That Mr Grey's a bit saucy, but does it get any hotter than this?

To be blunt, there's far better erotic romance out there: better stories, better characterisation, naughtier and simply more erotic. Sara Fawkes' hugely popular Anything He Wants series, for instance, is the first that springs to mind; Summer Daniels' Facebook page links to many more, selected by readers.

And if you've read Fifty Shades and been disappointed that it just wasn't rude enough, maybe you should be looking on the erotica shelves, rather than erotic romance. Here, there's more emphasis on the sex, and the language tends to be more explicit.

You want to get naughty? There's a whole lot more than fifty shades of naughty out there, just waiting for you to explore.

From my own backlist, I'd offer the Knee-tremblers and Indulgence series: one woman's journey of sexual exploration and her relationship with the rich, enigmatic owner of the sex club, Indulgence.

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